Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a frustrating and difficult topic for many men and their partners. 52% of men over the age of 40 will experience some degree of ED. The chance of getting ED usually increases with age. Because it is so common, and treatments are in high demand, it is a booming pharmaceutical sales industry.
ED can be caused by multiple issues and may be a combination of psychological, functional or physical causes. Blood vessel dysfunction in the penis is commonly noted in cases of ED. This same dysfunction can be seen throughout the body as well; therefore ED can be a warning sign of other serious diseases. Other major causes of ED include neurologic conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal issues, prostate/pelvic surgery and obesity; so lifestyle changes and other prescription medicines to help combat these problems may also help with ED. Also healthy eating habits, getting regular exercise, and not smoking can all reduce the detrimental impacts of these conditions and ED overall.
ED can also be caused by psychological problems such as stress and anxiety. In those situations, counseling can often help with these problems, and therefore help with ED as well as stress.
People often seek treatments without guidance from a trained health care provider either due to the sensitivity of the issue or for perceived convenience. A health treatment that is not classified as standard Western medical practice is referred to as “alternative” or “complementary.” Alternative treatments include nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and acupuncture, for example.
The movement toward alternative medicines has gained momentum over the past decade with the emergence of effective medications such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, for example. The popularity of these medications has led to the production of counterfeit and imitation substances outside of the FDA’s usual regulatory reach. Many consumers think these products are safe because they are often sold with labeling, suggesting that they are all-natural alternatives to prescription drug products that have been approved by FDA for treating ED. These products may be laced with potentially hazardous ingredients that aren’t noted on the label. Since these compounds don’t require rigorous testing to be sold, more money can be spent on advertising than clinical studies. There simply is no way to be certain that any non-FDA regulated substance is safe.
Some men may even choose to use alternative treatments in addition to traditional treatments for ED. If you are considering an alternative form of treatment for ED, seek the advice of a health care provider before getting started.
If a website or organization is willing to sell you ED supplements or medications without a prescription, they may have no reservations about selling you counterfeit medicines. Buying from unregulated, counterfeit websites carries a serious risk—as you just cannot know what is in the products that you are buying. Potential interactions with prescription medications can be deadly. Most importantly, they can be avoided by talking to your health care provider.
Have more questions about ED? Call UT Erlanger Urology. Our urologists located in Chattanooga are experts in managing this essential question for men. We are a teaching and research site for Boston Scientific and offer cutting-edge and minimally invasive ways to treat ED. Call us today at (423) 778-8765